The Show Editor Ghana Television (GTV), Mr. George Crentsil last Friday stabbed the backs of his colleagues after they had collectively decided to “quarter” the seven o'clock news in protest against the interdiction of the Director of GTV and four journalists for broadcasting a story about Ghana airways without cross checking.
In a decision of 30 to three at a meeting, journalists of GTV newsroom agreed to reduce the length of the day's major bulletin at 7 o'clock to 15 minutes. But just after the meeting, a “double agent” in their fold leaked the decision to the Director General, Ms Eva Lokko, who descended to the newsroom just before the deadline and gave the duty show editor, Mr. Crentsil, an order to do full bulletin.
This happened after she had called Crentsil outside the newsroom for consultation. “Everything has changed. My boss has spoken to me and I do not want to be interdicted for disobeying my boss, therefore we will do a full hour news”, Mr. Crentsil was said to have told his colleagues on his return to the newsroom.
Crentsil's decision resulted in the delay of the 7 o'clock news by about 10 minutes and his colleagues saw his action as a stab in the back, especially being the head of the GBC chapter of the GJA.
When The Chronicle contacted Mr. Crentsil on phone on Sunday for his comment, he said: “eh! Chronicle” and switched off his phone. All subsequent efforts to get him failed.
Meanwhile, information reaching The Chronicle alleged that tapes on the reactions from the Ghana Journalists Association and the NDC were intercepted by the acting Director of TV for further editing, saying that management did not trust the editorial judgment of the editors because of the way they handled the Ghana Airways story.
The same reactions were, however, carried by Radio Ghana in the 6 and 7 o'clock news bulletin after several efforts by the acting director for them not to air had failed.
However, a school of thought at GTV has it that the real motive for the interdiction was to eliminate journalists who were opposed to the introduction of the Integrated Television and Radio News Desk (INTREND), a body which oversees coverage of, especially, political stories and reports directly to the Director General.
Emmanuel Vorbge, one of the interdicted journalists had earlier collected signatures amongst his colleagues in protest against the introduction of the INTREND, which they thought would bring about press tyranny and censorship in GTV newsroom.
Vorgbe and Francis Sasu, who helped in the collection of the signatories, had been black listed.
In an interview a GTV journalist said press freedom was a mirage in GTV newsroom now.
Meanwhile, GTV reporters have resolved not to cover Ghana Airways stories because they did not know what would happen to them if they made mistakes.
They have also planned to embark on a peaceful demonstration this morning to protest against the interdictions if a scheduled management meeting failed to recall their colleagues.
The journalists on interdiction are Messrs Emmanuel Vorgbe, Editor-in-Chief, Francis Sasu, Assistant Chief Editor, Nana Yaw Duodu, Assistant Editor and Solomon Ayiah, a journalist on contract. Also interdicted is Mr. Kofi Bucknor, Director of TV News Their interdiction followed the broadcast of a story on GTV's Business News on Thursday, August 26, which suggested that negotiations between Ghana Airways and Ghana International Airlines had been suspended.